Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

I’d like to be the person I thought I’d be…But I’m not

Bernell Dorrough

Saturday, April 26. 2:38 a.m.

Today’s been such a crazy day. My last class of my college career ended at 11, and I was happy, an unexpected but wonderful emotion. A few hours later at WILD, I felt out of place, out of touch, extremely old, and very sober. After reminiscing on the good things in college – connecting with a professor, meeting those who would become my lifelong friends – I remembered the bad too.

Now I’m thinking how much I’d like to be out of St. Louis and how appealing another city sounds, any city at all. I’m thinking how meeting new people seems strange-too little, too late-but being with the old people seems almost too nostalgic. I’m remembering how I compromised my morals in college then found them again later, how I thought I lost God but found Him again too. And how I’ve coasted by on some things then received more than I should have in return, and how I’ve poured my heart into other things then been rejected. And I’m remembering how I fell in love, and how I fell out of love, and how my friends are getting engaged, and how I’ve befriended drug dealers, devout Christians and anarchists. It seems so bittersweet to leave it all and enter into an entirely uncertain future – jobless, homeless and clueless.

It’s 3 a.m. now, and I want to go to bed and wake up when somebody’s figured out my plan for me, when I’ve been accepted to medical school and made peace with my enemies. I’d like to be the person I thought I’d be, in the place where I saw myself after college. But I’m not, so I’ll settle for a brief respite: for one day I’d like to wake up and not be shocked by the world. Unfortunately there is no bargaining involved: the world will always be a shock no matter what I offer God in return for a day free of mental anguish. Tomorrow, like always, nuclear war will peek around the corner, and there will be corrupt businessmen, alcoholics, pedophiles, abusive husbands and juvenile delinquents. Some enemies will never forgive and some friends will be lost without having the chance to say goodbye.

Clich‚s ahoy: I have too much hope to let that get me down. I know that I’ll fail sometimes, that my heart will be broken and my beliefs and myself attacked. And I’ll face the world anyway because if I don’t then I won’t have the opportunity to change it. Maybe it’s na‹ve to assume that my spirit will never be broken beyond the point of repair. Maybe it’s na‹ve to give my friends a thousand chances to redeem themselves when they do wrong, all the while thinking, “This time will be different.” Thorton Wilder once wrote, “Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.” I guess that makes me ridiculous.

Like all of us, I’ve experienced some bad things here – poor grades, lost friendships, failed plans. But I can’t forget the good either, like the laughter in Kathy Drury’s Exposition and Argumentation classes. Like watching the sunrise on the Brookings steps. Like painting the underpass, watching a friend star in a play, staying up until 5 a.m. freshman year just talking.

I overestimate the frustration I feel about leaving WU and, truthfully, being here has been worth any disappointment I felt. I’ve had my share of achievements for good grades and good writing, and I’ve had more than enough fun too. I’ve been taught how to survive without a master plan for my life, though that, like other lessons, was one I never asked to learn. While I was optimistic before coming to college, hope is now the chocolate of my life: I just can’t live without it. It’s no wonder that now I can look at my father’s calmness, despite losing his job not two months ago, and recognize that he and I share a philosophy: “Things will always get better.”

You could say, then, that my frustration is misplaced. I’m not so upset about being at a place in life where I didn’t expect to be. I’m really just sad to leave behind this wannabe-Gothic, construction-laden paradise. My fate could be worse. At least I’m not pushing a rock up a hill forever. But even then, as Albert Camus stated, “The rock is still rolling.”

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